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Break Up Country: What Is Country To You?

I know nothing but living in what most people consider the country and if you were to ask my wife she would probably tell you that we won’t likely live somewhere that wouldn’t be considered the country. We have made a home in an agricultural community where we plan to raise our children and make a living in the least populated state in the USA.

I commonly give my tack a workout just about every year when we head into the hunting areas that surround our home. Riding horses was as normal as walking in our household and Guy and I learned how to ride at a very early age. I still remember some of those first rides into the high country to pursue mule deer and elk. I also loved hearing Dad’s stories about guiding before we were even born. Those are memories that can’t be replaced and will be with me forever and are ingrained in who I am.

As a young man I was able to hone my skills on a horse even more while working as a ranch hand from 1991-96. It was a thrill to be on horseback every day. In fact, if I could have made a decent living on horseback I believe I would still be there. Hard work has been a constant for our family and this type of hard work was rewarding, and what young man hasn’t dreamed of life on the range and the adventure of working the land? This experience made me a better horseman and as a result even more confident in my abilities when hunting the wilderness haunts that deer and elk call home.

I long ago reached a conclusion about living life in the country and the hunters who participate in it. Even though I grew up living the country lifestyle in a place that many would love to live, being a part of the country doesn’t mean you have to live in the middle of nowhere. Hunting is a mindset and a way of life that people all over the the U.S. live out and pursue on a daily basis. Country and hunting are tied together and that can’t be separated. For many of us they are one and the same lifestyle.

Every year I am at shows and meet tons of people who, even though they may live in urban areas like Sacramento or Dallas, they are still part of what would be considered country. They share many of the same values that I hold and they look forward to coming to the country and enjoying the hunt the same way that I do.

So this is how I define “country.” It’s a mindset and a way of life that is ingrained in your character that includes your values, integrity and traditions. How do you define it?

About Ike Eastman

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Ike Eastman is the President of Eastmans’ Publishing and oversees the daily operations of Eastmans’ Hunting TV, Eastmans’ Hunting and Bowhunting Journals, Eastmans’ Live Events including the Trophy Deer Tour, films in the fall and is hands-on in all facets of the company. Ike’s hunting knowledge and expertise has been shaped by more than 25 years of pursuing trophy big game across most of North America.

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